Vernon Jordan and Hank Aaron are trailblazers who have always worked diligently for the rights of Black Americans. During the 2017 Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit, both icons were honored at the annual BE 100 Gala.
Jordan, who served for decades as a civil rights attorney and activist, received the Corporate Champion Award. During his speech, Jordan spoke about the founder of Black Enterprise, Earl Graves, and how he helped to highlight his success. “Wherever I am, wherever I’ve been, and whatever I have accomplished, I didn’t get here by myself. I am here tonight, in large measure, because of the founder of Black Enterprise, Earl Graves,” he said. “When I was asked to succeed Whitney Young in 1971, no one knew my name. But Earl Graves looked out for me on the cover of Black Enterprise. I greatly appreciated his friendship.”
Aaron received the A.G. Gaston Award. He spoke about his relationship with Gaston. “One day I was having breakfast at Gaston’s hotel and he was speaking with two other Civil Rights leaders,” he said. “They were discussing what it would take in order for Black folks to keep moving in the right direction. I heard him say one thing that always stuck with me. He said, ‘most of us do not appreciate our Black women. Black women are the ones who make things go.’ I often think about my wife and what we have done to give back. We have over 15 kids who are currently on scholarship. And that comes from being mentored by Gaston. If you got a chance to know him, you got a chance to meet a good guy.”
Along with Jordan and Aaron, other attendees at the Black Enterprise Entrepreneur’s Summit included Patti LaBelle, Hill Harper, Charles King, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, and Clyde Drexler.
View exclusive images.